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This Article Last Updated: Aug 13th, 2014 - 19:04:11 

2014 Eastern Hemisphere Report
By The event
Aug 11, 2014, 21:58

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August 10: Frustrating Start at the Easterns
By Alex d'Agosta

On Race Day 1 of the 2014 International Star Class Eastern Hemisphere Championship today, the eager competitors were met with shifty and inconsistent winds, long postponements, and a race-less afternoon.

First thing this morning, upon the arrival of the Star sailors at the Sailing Club Urnersee, the Race Committee was forced to postpone the fleet on shore due to a lack of wind in both the Urnersee and Gersauer Becken race areas.

As the thermal Northerly wind began to fill in on the Urnersee, the Race Committee ended the onshore postponement around 12pm and sent the fleet out onto the water. The northerly winds continued to build as the fleet approached the starting area, teasing competitors with the promise of good conditions and an exciting day of racing.

With storms looming on the southern end of the Swiss Alps, pressure began to build again but unfortunately from the opposite direction. Typical of Urnersee, when storms approach from the South a strong Fohn wind begins to fill the lake from the bottom of the lake and push against the thermal northerly until it takes over the lake completely.

Around 3:00 pm, the new First Warning signal time, the conflicting winds began their battle and the Race Committee postponed the racing further. Because of the 180 degree shifts and dramatic pressure changes, the Race Committee moved the Star fleet back up the lake and within an hour later, sent them to the harbour to wait on shore once again.

Just after the whole fleet made it ashore, the Föhn wind filled in strong with puffs up to 35mph. The Race Committee then abandoned racing for the day and postponed the start of Race 1 until tomorrow, Race Day 2. At 7PM CET Race Committee will publish the official time for the First Warning of Race 1 and hopefully conditions will be stable enough to complete 3 full races.

August 11, Races 1, 2 and 3: From 0 – 60 mph: A "Jump Start" Beginning to the 2014 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship
Brunnen (Switzerland)

Following a long day of waiting and false hopes on Race Day 1 of the 2014 International Star Class Eastern Hemisphere Championship, the Star sailors endured an even longer day today, Race Day 2, filled with on and off rain, inconsistent wind pressure, and shifty wind direction. However, despite the difficult conditions today, the 2014 Star Easterns is now well on its way with 3 of the 7 scheduled races completed.

Race Day 2 got off to a slow start this morning with an onshore and on the water postponement of the original 11:00 am First Warning signal time, but the pace quickened as the first rain storm of the day took over the race course on the Gersauer Becken race area. The wind picked up from the previously NW 4-6 knot breeze to a stable 8-10, and Race 1 was successfully started at 11:45.

The first day of actual racing was dominated by the Italian crew of ITA 8491 Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi. The duo finished the opening race in sixth place but then followed that result up with two authoritative wins. Behind them in the overall rankings are USA 8320 George Szabo with crew Serge Pulfer, GRE 8434 Emilios Papathanasiou with crew Antonis Tsotras, GER 8450 Hubert Merkelbach with crew Gerrit Bartel, and SUI 8274 Christoph Burger with crew Renato Marazzi.

The Race Committee also had to ensure the maximum number of races went ahead today to keep the programme on schedule and did so with some difficulty. A search for steadier wind during the morning saw the first race held in Race Area 2 (the western one, known as Gersauer Becken), while in the afternoon, after something of a wait and heavy rain, the fleet moved to the main course which looks south to the Canton of Uri.

Conditions were very unpredictable indeed in Race 1. American team USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer took an immediate lead and held it until the first gate, followed by BRA 8390 Pascolato/Boening, GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras and SUI 8274 Burger/Marazzi. Nonetheless, the Greek team GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras fought their way back on the upwind leg to snatch leadership. But in the end, Swiss team SUI 8274 Burger/ Marazzi staged a stylish pass as GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras struggled through a hole on the course, and stole the victory. USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer followed SUI 8274 Burger/Marazzi’s lead and also finished ahead of the unfortunate GRE 8434 Papathanasiou and Tsotras.

After an hour’s transfer between the Gersauer Becken and Urnersee courses, conditions stabilised despite the incessant rain.

However, Race 2 did not start immediately as there was a general recall. On the second attempt, with the Black Flag and after a start very close to the Race Committee boat, GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras, ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi, and USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer, at the halfway line, all shot to the front. It quickly became clear that the best side would be the port one. Despite choosing to remain to starboard of the group, however, ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi’s speed meant they were able to keep ahead of their rivals and round the marks in the lead. As happened with ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi in the first race, the Jury intervened in the second race, slapping the Greek team GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras with a penalty for pumping. They then fell back three positions behind USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer, SUI 8274 Burger/Marazzi and GER 8298 Philipp Rotermund and crew Nils Hollweg. At that stage, the results looked certain once again but shortly afterward ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi shot away from USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer by 10 boat lengths and the American team USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer then took a good lead over the first group of chasers in which SUI 8274 Burger/Marazzi of Switzerland had moved up to third. The latter eventually went on to finish the race on the podium.

The third and final race of the day was much more unpredictable and varied. A jump to starboard in the first phase of the upwind leg worked to the advantage of a group of four boats which immediately broke away from the rest, thanks to a very courageous strategy. However, this daring choice proved very costly indeed for SUI 7947 Boris Kulpe and crew Ronald Roeseler. Nonetheless, the Swiss team still had the incredible satisfaction of rounding the first and second mark ahead of the entire fleet. A memorable day too for SUI 8316 Marc Trinquart with crew Christian Meylan, who rounded third around the first windward mark immediately behind ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi. The same goes for GER 8416 Hubert Rauch and Kilian Weise who were third and just a whisker ahead of the expert Greek GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras duo.

Tomorrow racing is scheduled to start once again at 11.00 and up to three races can be held. The 2014 International Star Class Eastern Hemisphere Championship will be able to award the Silver Star only when four races have been completed while five valid races is the threshold to see the worst result discarded.

August 12: Italians Negri and Lambertenghi lead the 2014 Star Easterns

Another roller-coaster day was added to the 2014 International Star Class Eastern Hemisphere Championship today, Race Day 3, with a 3 hour onshore postponement this morning followed by a relatively stable northerly afternoon breeze. Happily, however, competitors were able to continue the battle for the prestigious Silver Star Championship title at 3.20 pm when Race 4 finally got underway.

At the start, a majority of the Star fleet seemed to favour the Race Committee boat end of the starting line but quickly discovered the left side of the course was the best option when the major left phase wind shift reached the bottom part of the Race Course. Emilios Papathanasiou and Antonis Tsotras (GRE 8434), who proved themselves pin-end start specialists in the 2014 International Star Class World Championship this past July, were of course there at the pin ready and waiting to take advantage of the first shift of the race.

Italians Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 8491) sped along just a few metres behind and were glued to them from the very outset. In fact, according to the GPS each boat is equipped with, the Italians were also on average going the same speed of about 6 knots, alternating supremacy throughout the first leg, and were almost always the fastest of the leading teams. The fans watching at home were sweating while the Star fleet fought their way up the upwind leg and the leaders sailed right up on top of each other the whole time. Competitors Tom Lofstedt and Frithjof Kleen (SWE 8446) as well as Philipp Rotermund and Nils Hollweg (GER 8298) were also in the mix of the constantly changing leadership positions.

At the first windward mark, the Greek duo Papathanasiou/Tsotras (GRE 8434) rounded with a comfortable lead ahead of 2nd place Lofstedt/Kleen (SWE 8446), and 3rd place Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA8491). Martin Ingold and Peter Neth (SUI 7912) as well as Christoph Gautschi and Dominik Schenk (SUI 8409) followed shortly behind the leaders and had a dominating position over the next group of boats.

The first downwind leg proved difficult as well, with a brisk steady wind that made for some fine, very tight head-to-head racing within the top 5 leading boats.

Swedish team Lofstedt/Kleen (SWE 8446) were working their way down the left while Italians Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA 8491) sailed in the middle, and Greeks Papathanasiou/Tsotras (GRE 8434) were on the right. After countless passes back and forth, and although Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA 8491) proved to be faster, Papathanasiou/Tsotras (GRE 8434) rounded the port gate in first with the Italians close behind. Lofstedt/Kleen (SWE 8446) opted for the opposite gate mark to avoid the traffic of the remainder of the fleet approaching the leeward gate. At this stage, the first few boats began to extend on their lead on the central group.

Initially, the second upwind leg appeared to be, simple, unsurprising, and almost parade-like. The Greeks Papathanasioiu/Tsotras (GRE 8434) held on to their dominant lead with their nearest rivals once again the Swedish Lofstedt/Kleen (SWE 8446). In the meantime, however, Swiss crew Gautschi/Schenk (SUI 8409) moved up into third position until Italians’ Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA 8491) temporary struggles disappeared at the end of the third leg. A slight pressure increase on the right side of the course worked to the advantage of Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA 8491), who were able to make up a few boat lengths of lead on the fleet with just a couple of dozen metres before they reached the windward mark layline. But the best was yet to come. The last tack after layline brought the closest sailing of the day. The second time round the windward mark was genuinely pivotal with Papathanasiou/Tsotras (GRE 8434) and Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA 8491) almost neck–and-neck with just two seconds between them. It was the same scene and the same distance for Gautschi/Schenk (SUI 8409) and Lofstedt/Kleen (SWE 8446) too.

The final leg was just as exciting as the previous 3 down to the very last metre. The Greeks Papathanasiou/Tsotras (GRE 8434) gave no sign of defeat and continued to chase Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA 8491), allowing no more than 10 metres between them the entire leg. Behind them another blistering match race was unfoldng as Gautschi/Schenk (SUI 8409) took a commanding position ahead of Lofstedt/Kleen and Rotermund/Hollweg.

August 13: The Silver Star goes to Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi
Winners Negri and Lembertenghi

The final day of the 2014 International Star Class Eastern Hemisphere Championship at Brunnen, Switzerland, ended without completing a 5th, or any of other additional scheduled races. Therefore, the final standings after 4 races became the Final Overall Results for the Championship and further validated Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi's (ITA 8491) dominance of the event. With the completion of four races were completed, both Negri and Lambertenghi (ITA 8491) were awarded their second ISCYRA Eastern Hemisphere Silver Stars of their Star sailing careers.

Negri and Lambertenghi’s victory in this prestigious event is undoubtedly a result of the consistency in their series 6th, 1st, 1st, and 1st Place finishes, despite the unstable wind direction and velocity throughout the 2014 Star Eastern Hemispheres.

Race 1 of the Championship was dominated by very unsteady winds created by rain storms hovering above the Gersauer Becken race area to the west of Brunnen, and concluded with a victory for Christoph Burger and Renato Marazzi (SUI 8274), a 2nd place for George Szabo and Serge Pulfer (USA 8320 ), and a 3rd place finish for Emilios Papathanasiou and Antonis Tsotras (GRE 8434).

The next two races were held on the more southerly Urnersee Race course area, where the Star Fleet was gifted with more stable winds but in return had to endure torrential rain. Italians Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA 8491) crossed the line first, followed by Szabo/Pulfer (USA 8320) and Burger/Marazzi (SUI 8247) in Race 2, and in Race 3 by Boris Kulpe and Ronald Roeseler (SUI 7947) and Papathanasiou/Tsotras (GRE 8434) respectively.

Race 4 was held in a brisk wind with no rain and proved the fiercest battle of the series with several changes of leadership and some very close racing right until the very last few metres in the final leg. Right behind Negri/Lambertenghi (ITA 8491), Papathanasiou/Tsotras (GRE 8434) won what was the closest-fought of all the races over Christoph Gautschi and Dominik Schenck (SUI 8409) to finish 2nd leaving the Swiss team to finish third.

Despite the Race Committee’s valiant efforts to complete all of the scheduled races, no races were actually finished today, a dull, very autumnal day. In fact, after one attempt this morning, and a regular start this afternoon, a security warning forced the cancellation of Race 5 after the fleet had made it all the way around the first windward mark and down to the leeward gate.

Warmest thanks for hosting and staging such a successful event goes to the 2014 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship organisers: Swiss Star Class, the URI Sailing Club and the Luzern-Vierwaldstattersee Star Fleet. Also, thank you to the Star Sailors League for their support with communications and for providing live streaming each day with Virtual Eye 3D graphics, Pro-Action for video recording and Icarus for highlights.

Diego Negri (ITA 8491, Skipper): "The Eastern Hemisphere is a Silver Event which is very important for the Class. I am delighted to have won it for the second consecutive year. Having finished the Worlds so few points behind the winner and fought to the very last for the gold medal, we were certainly very conscious of our potential. However, it was a difficult week because I'm not very familiar with the Alpine lakes, particularly given the highly unusual weather conditions we had to grapple with. Our three first place finishes come as a result of excellent speeds and, more importantly, our ability to read the very sharp shifts in the wind which made the series extremely interesting. As all sailors are only too well aware, you really have no control over the weather. That said, the race committee chose exactly the right moments to stage the races over two very tricky days. We’d like to thank them for the excellent hospitality and organisation – they clearly made a huge effort. Even the fact that they managed to get a dedicated dock for the Star boats in the magnificent setting of Brunnen spoke volumes. I am very happy to have clocked up 750 points for the SSL ranking list which further strengthens the leadership position I have held for just the last few weeks."

Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 8491, Crew): "We didn’t expect such bad weather and autumnal temperatures. The unexpected cold actually made the whole week very physically challenging and it was tough-going to keep ahead of the others from an athletic point of view. I am delighted that we are now reaping the benefits of all the work planned out with Diego, just a year on from starting sailing together. This event was one of our biggest goals for 2014 and I am very proud to have won it again 16 years on from the Monte Carlo edition."

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